“Put your photo on Orkut” a friend said to me.
“What for?” I asked him
“So that people can see you”
I don’t like to have my photo published on a public network. For that matter, I would not like my photos to be published in photo albums too. If you have seen Salmaan Khan or John Abraham or any of those handsome hunk, I definitely don’t come closer to them. The problem is, I don’t look good in my photos. In fact I don’t look good in real too, but that is a different matter. Even a lot of special effects didn’t help.
Our family does not have a history of photographs. Most of the family history is lost because we don’t have photographs. None in the family is enthusiastic about standing in front of the camera. There is no photo of my parent’s marriage. In fact the first time they were photographed together was somewhere on my 6-7 birthday during my birthday party. If I look back during that time, those were the only photos of me at that time. Those and the ones taken during the annual class photo in my school. These photos would have to be bought and I never bought them. Imagine a whole lot of history being lost because my photos were never taken.
As I grew up, the annual Group photo in my school and the occasional passport size photo for forms were the only photos taken. I started hating my photographs so much so that I used the same passport photos a number of years until somebody looked at the photo on the form and looked back at me. They didn’t match. That time I knew it was time for a trip to local Photo studio. The negatives would be carefully stored to take the same photos again and again and again until the time when somebody looked at the photo and then looked at me again. It was too much effort to go to a photo studio trying to look nice when there were no chances of looking nice. Too much of an effort to be what you could not. But then it was necessary so had to do it.
As expected there are very few photos of me growing up. The group photos were necessary but I was found somewhere hidden between two large guys. So if I show my school group photo to someone now, it would go somewhat like this
Me: See my 7th Standard photo. Can you identify me?
Someone: Err! Hummmmm
Someone: This is a trick question, right?
Me: I am here (I point to a small head coming out from behind two boys in the last row somewhere, totally frustrated by now.)
Being in front of the camera has not given me any fun as yet but being behind the camera surely does gives me a high. We got our first camera when I was in the 10th standard. It was a manual film camera. From learning to click photos and clicking hazy, out-of-focus photos, my photographic skills have come a long way. I am not a good photographer but then I am not bad either.
4 years back when I came to Europe for the first time, I went wild with my Yashica camera. I exhausted 4 rolls of film in 4 days. When I finally washed those films, it was not what I had expected. Of course as always there were less photos of me but the photos I thought were classic were, lets say not so classic. Two years back, I bought my first digital camera, a Sony P73 model. A 3X zoom, with 3.1 mega pixel and 10x digital zoom, this was freedom from films. You take a photo, see it on the LCD screen and if you do not like, keep it or delete it. But then you don’t have to check how many photos can be taken. I left the camera at home when I went back to India. The idea was that they will send me their photos from India when I am in Netherlands. Sadly I haven’t received any photos from them. The reason, “who has the time?” As I said, it runs in the family.
2 years back, I bought a new Olympus camera P760 with a 10X optical zoom, 3.2 mega pixel and 3x digital zoom. With a digital camera, there was no limits on the number of pictures I took. On every outing, out would come my camera and then it was just clicking spree. Initially, I would dedicatedly rename each picture and post it on Yahoo photos for others to see. But then the number of photos swelled so much that, I just uploaded the pictures with only the folder name suggesting where I was.
I was too eager to show everyone the Europe I was in. There were photos of buildings, rivers, canals, monuments, trees, roads, even my colleagues and everything except me. People started losing interest in the photos but I was adamant. I uploaded photos one after another, mostly in 100s. All of buildings, rivers, canals, monuments, trees, roads, even my colleagues and everything except me. So after some time, I asked them, “How were the photos?” feeling pretty proud of myself for taking such magnificent photos.
“Photo mat bhej. Tu toh usmain hai he nahin.” They said. (Don’t send the photos. You are not in any of them)
Of course I was not in any of them because I was behind the camera taking them. But then it was true that in those more than 100 photos per folder, I was hardly in 5 of them. My friends like to see my photo. So during recent outings I tried to fit in more people instead of the trees and nature and buildings and monuments. But then it comes back to the square one, I don’t look good in photos. I haven’t given up on my being behind the camera.
When I started blogging, I wanted to be anonymous. So it was a strict no-personal photo policy on the blog. I wanted my writings to do the talking which they do to a large extent. I will not be putting my photo on Orkut or anywhere else. I want to remain a faceless blogger. But then I would be the one behind the camera saying you to give your best possible smile and saying “Say Cheese!”
A look back at my behind the camera moments
A trip to Spakenburg
A tale about a Man and his dog
A walk through the woods